Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Houses

Me and the czaritsa were talking about how we should tell more bog stories. We each have so many we could easily present them to you in a manner reminiscent of a ton of sardines being poured over, let’s say, a giraffe.

The only problem is, most of them are either unsuited to this format, not funny enough, too personal or flat out self-incriminating. But you know what? I think I’ve got one for you.

The other day we were out walking in the fine weather. We had taken the scenic route through a part of town we don’t usually visit, an area where we’ve both lived at different times of our lives, separately, back in the long years when we were just friends. Or at least worked very hard at being just friends. Well, not that hard really, but I wasn’t technically married yet and Sara was underage so I guess it doesn’t count. Anyway, I digress.

First we passed the apartment Sara once shared with a cross-eyed anorectic so stingy she charged for toilet paper by the sheet. We could see that there had been a fire a floor above her old room; the soot had left a triangular streak up across the white wall from the boarded-shut window.

Secondly, we passed the Masonic lodge, an ugly, concrete lump in dire need of a tender hand. That place is a mess: The temple-like entrance looks like an honorary medal slapped on a bum in a boiler suit. What kind of a Masons are they anyway, they don’t know jack about architecture? It’s almost so you want to join them just to get someone started on the maintenance.

Thirdly, we passed the ground floor flat I shared with 5 other monkeys back when I was the ringleader of an anarchist terror cell. Through the bamboo curtains the place looked exactly the same. The peeling wallpaper, the stained carpet, the cast iron stove. There was an eerie photocopy taped to the front door. Underneath the blurry picture of a cat’s face, it read:

CAT MURDERER
Look after your cats. There is a vile cat murderer loose in the neighborhood. We found our cat Munchies hanged in a tree by a metal cord. If you have any information, call this number.


You’re thinking, like I am: Capturing and torturing some poor animal for kicks - who does such a horrible fucking thing? But in your heart you know it happens all the time, and worse.

Some cowardly sadist too weak to perform the act on another human being. A deranged homeless person. A group of kids ignored by their parents. Some monster is in the making, always.

Anyway, these three houses triggered a memory in me, a memory about a fourth house.

It was in the early nineties and I was maybe eighteen. We were building an organization of squatters. A group of us were charting the empty buildings all over the city, looking for prospects. Once we knew of a new address an advance party of two or three would break in at night and scout it using the building blueprints which we acquired from the city archives. We had become quite expertly at it, we had the tools and the motivation.

One time we heard of a new one in a quiet neighborhood. There’d been some kind of fire but the owners hadn’t started the renovation yet, they’d simply boarded up the two lowest floors so the drunks wouldn’t move in. Me and a few others went there one night to check it out. We jimmied a basement door and got in, started moving up the stairs floor by floor, careful with our flashlights. The house was mostly empty, a little furniture scattered here and there, waste, building material. It looked like a good squat. Then we found something on the top floor.

The whole floor was empty, but there was this one, big room off to a side. It was painted dark red and had a large, curtained window. As soon as we walked in we knew it was a bad room. There were markings on the walls, symbols. The only piece of furniture, a flat, narrow divan upholstered in a coarse, black fabric, stood alone in the exact middle of the room, underneath a system of tracked hooks from the ceiling. It was stained by what I at the time interpreted as a mixture of semen and blood.

We found some papers piled in a corner, drawings, scribbling, they didn’t make much sense. Then we found the dead kitten. After that we didn’t want to have anything more to do with it so we took a quick vote and left. Being who I am I took the papers with me.

I didn’t know what I had. We didn’t mix with the devil worshippers or the occultists. Those people were mostly spoilt black metal kids or pathetic, old guys looking to get laid. Then there were the Wiccans, self obsessed to a point where they interpreted everything in relation to their own menstrual cycles.

I talked to a friend who knew some people, tried to find out what I’d found. I think it was a formula for a ritual of some sort, but it was written in a kind of symbolic shorthand that I couldn’t break. A few weeks went by and I went about the business of being a delinquent. Then my friend told me she’d talked to someone. She couldn’t say who it was but they really wanted their papers back. Who can I contact? They’ll be in touch.

This was in the dark ages before the mobile phone. I received a letter a few days after, in overly elaborate, antique handwriting: To return the material I had obtained, which was not my property, would I kindly take a meeting at such and such a time, at the patisserie in front of the hall of justice? Thank you.

I was there half an hour early. The place was full of little old ladies. I sat there, drinking my coffee, watching the entrance. I don’t know what I was expecting.

In those days you could smoke indoors. I was rolling a cigarette when someone sat down at my table. When I looked up I saw a little old lady, maybe 70 years old, dressed in beige.

She asked me if I had the papers. I gave them to her. She got up and left. I thought about following her, but then I changed my mind.

7 Comments:

Blogger Antagonous said...

great! thanks, now I'll never trust those sweet old ladies I give my seat up to on the bus.

Incidentally, you are correct Mikkel, your job must be worse than mine. No feces to report.

Since my newly revealed Maus persona does not really allow me to like the drawing anymore, I guess I'll just bid on the sensitivity then.

9:33 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

What sensitivity?

10:57 pm  
Blogger Mock Turtle said...

I really enjoyed this post. This is the first time I've read your blog even though b1-66er has been telling me for months how great it is.

He did say some people might not get it. I don't know if I fall in that category or not...

9:13 am  
Blogger Mikkel said...

I once knew a mock duck, briefly. Could that possibly be a relation of yours?

10:19 am  
Blogger Mikkel said...

"My name is Beth. Mock Beth."

I could go on and on, and I will.

10:21 am  
Blogger surly fag said...

i loved the story. my nose started bleeding half way through and this old scar i have on my forehead started to burn. later i found it sizzling away on my cunt. i think i'm okay though, just a little tired.

5:23 am  
Blogger Mikkel said...

I'm going to be honest and say that I sometimes have a hard time interpreting your signals. Is this a come-on?

10:02 am  

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